McFarland's Memories of 2009
Another year has come to pass. Where does the time go? As I get older it seems that the clock tends to tick a little faster, but I am sure all you 25+ year-old people out there already know that.
Yet while we prepare to welcome in 2010, it becomes time to look back and reflect on 2009.
Below are my five fondest memories of the last year.
5. Being crowned Co-Champ of the TIMES NEWS Grid Picks. It took me long enough but I feel that I finally earned some respect amongst the high school football world. To be honest, I didn't really pay much attention to high school football when I first arrived at the TIMES NEWS back in 2005. Part of the reason was because I was away at college for the past four years and didn't know much about the teams. And because I didn't know much - I didn't really care. Now, after five years of getting to know the area's teams, I finally made my mark. Some of the games were no-brainers. Some of the games were toss-ups. In the end I was either smarter or luckier than everyone else on the staff (except for Boris - who claims to be the smartest HS Football/NFL Draft guru alive). The only thing that bothers me is the fact that I blew my multi-game lead in the last few weeks of the season. But since I finished ninth or worse three out of the last four years, I consider my 2009 picks a complete success. Now if I could just get the paper to fund for a trophy...
4. Tiger Woods' 'Careless Driving.' I'm not trying to beat a dead horse here, but this story was pretty big. When first hearing about Tiger's accident and him running into a fire hydrant at two in the morning, my friends and I thought he was drunk - which would have been totally worse in my book. But we were wrong. A few days later we found out Tiger wasn't a bad drunk driver. He was in fact the biggest pimp in the world. 15 different women? When the whole world watches your every move? And he kept it quiet for this long? I give the man props. I mean it's not totally inconceivable if you think about it. Tiger never let anyone into his personal life. He hadn't for ten-plus years, so we didn't really know that much about him. And sure he is (was) married with kids, but the man was away nearly every weekend for nine months. And I don't want to hear about how he has a super model wife. If Brad Pitt can get bored with Jennifer Aniston, then anyone can get bored of anyone. The thing I am more shocked at is the number. While I don't believe all 15 women are telling the truth, I would say at least half are and that's still seven of them. But I say good for him. He has the potential to be the biggest bachelor of all time. Live it up while you can Tiger. I mean, you really don't have a choice anyway.
3. Dallas Cowboys 24, New Orleans Saints 17. I can already hear you non-Cowboy fanatics groaning. But if you are a true Cowboys fan than you would know that this game was probably their biggest win in the last two seasons. Their playoff lives rode on this game - and they just so happened to be playing an undefeated team in the loudest stadium in the country. I didn't like the Boys' chances going in, but they manhandled the Saints for three quarters before almost letting it slip away. If Dallas loses that game, it falls to 8-6 and the stories of its December woes only get louder. Instead, the victory sparked a two-game winning steak in which the Cowboys have looked like a new team playing to their potential. That night they let a national audience know that they were for real one again. I don't know what the future holds for Dallas in the playoffs, but right now I am feeling much better than I did last year at this point.
2. My first-ever Fantasy Baseball title. As everyone knows I wasn't too fond of baseball back in the day, so I have only played fantasy baseball for the last three years. I finished third my first year and second my second year and rightfully took the next step this past year. It wasn't as easy as one would think though. After starting the first two weeks in the basement, I quickly bounced back and held the best record all the way up until the last two weeks (in which I lost some winnings). Along the way I lost Manny for 50 games, Hamels was off all season, Youkilis plain sucked after I acquired him mid-season and Ibanez cooled off in a major way. But I held on and won 11-7 and 10-9 in the playoffs. The championship game was insane and something I will never forget. I played my best friend Mike Iannotto (who was playing for his first time) and it literally came down to the last at-bat/pitch of the season. Get this: We each had over 400 at-bats during the two-week title match. My batting average: .301. His batting average: .299. That is literally a one out difference. It gets even better. I had 80.1 innings pitched with a 5.04 ERA. He had 97.2 innings pitched with a 5.07 ERA. If my team allowed one more earned run over the course of two weeks I would have been the one losing 10-9. Not to mention a couple hundred dollars. Nuts right? Sucks for him. "Return of the ManRam" will be forever called champions.
1. PITT to the Elite Eight. I attended Pitt from 2001 to 2005 and the basketball team 'coincidently' became a national powerhouse. I have that affect on people. Still, the Sweet 16 had been our downfall. My first three years we lost three consecutive Sweet 16 games to Kent State, Marquette and Oklahoma State. We later lost another to traitor Ben Howland and his UCLA Bruins. Last year we erased all of that by beating Xavier. We had shot at the Final Four, but you can't give up a full-court lay-up with five seconds left. There is no excuse for that. Trust me when I say you didn't want to be around me that night. Yeah we didn't accomplish much, but for us Panther faithful it was a moral victory. Unfortunately, we probably won't get back any time soon. Last year's team was the best Pitt ever had. Now two of them are in the NBA and another is playing overseas. But after eight years or Sweet 16 hardships, the best team in school history finally got us over the hump.